Meet the Hitchin man aiming for a world record with his fancy dress fundraiser

PUBLISHED: 14:00 23 May 2020

Nick Jemetta is raising £1,500  for three charities over the month of May. Picture: Supplied

Nick Jemetta is raising £1,500 for three charities over the month of May. Picture: Supplied

Archant

A Hitchin man has set himself the challenge of wearing fancy dress to work every day for a month, in the hopes it will boost the mental health of friends, family and colleagues during lockdown.

When Nicholas Jemetta first donned his fancy dress costumes for work video calls, his aim was to entertain his two young children, aged four and six.

Now, he’s hoping his month–long fundraising challenge will break a world record and create more powerful, fun and personal conversations with colleagues.

Having lived through his own experiences of anxiety and even suicidal thoughts, Nick was well placed to realise that lockdown could have an extremely negative effect on all of us – and was determined to bring everyone some smiles.

So, Nick decided for every working day of May, he would wear a different fancy dress costume to work. That’s 19 days of different costumes, something he hopes is a world record.

For every Zoom call he has had to attend, Nick has been surprising colleagues with everything from Harry Potter to Austin Powers–themed outfits.

So far, Nick has raised more than £1,300 for three charities that are close to his heart – NHS Charities Together, Mental Health UK and the Alzheimer’s Society.

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As a trained mental health first aider, Nick – who spends the working day as a digital product leader for Sainsbury’s – realised that many people may be struggling with the uncertainty and lack of meaningful, physical connections during lockdown.

Since he started this venture, Nick says his conversations with colleagues have become more relaxed, more personal and more meaningful.

Nick said: “I’m genuinely shocked and taken aback by the response I’ve had so far.

“I started this challenge to have fun with my children, to bring a smile and start more conversations about mental health. The fundraising was a last minute addition, and I’m astounded at everyone’s generosity.

“I’m delighted to be able to give back and to help colleagues, family and friends be more accepting of how they feel. There are small changes we can all make every day to make ourselves feel a little better.”

Nick will wear 19 unique costumes over the month of May, and admits that some have been “a bit of a squeeze” as they belong to his kids.

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week has been held every year in the UK since 2001 and aims to raise awareness and promote the message of good mental health for everyone.

To donate to Nick’s fundraiser and help him hit his £1,500 target, visit justgiving.com/team/workinfancydress.


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